Dale Steyn is unlikely to bowl again in the first Test with India and could be out for four to six weeks after sustaining "significant damage" to the tissue of his left heel.
Steyn was sent for scans on a bruised heel on day two of the Test between South Africa and India at Newlands, which marked his first appearance in the longest format since November 2016.
The fast bowler took the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan on day one and then trapped Wriddhiman Saha lbw for a duck on Saturday to move him two dismissals behind Shaun Pollock, South Africa's leading Test wicket-taker with 421.
But he may not even surpass the fellow Proteas legend in this series after Cricket South Africa confirmed the severity of the injury.
With the three-match series set to come to an end on January 28, a four-week absence would see Steyn miss the rest of the Tests. Six one-day matches and three Twenty20 contests follow the Tests.
"During Dale's 18th over in his delivery stride he unfortunately landed awkwardly in the foot-holes, and this caused a significant strain to the foot leading to tissue damage on the under-side of the foot," South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.
"The recovery period for this could be anything from four to six weeks, which means he could be out for the series.
Hardik Pandya is hero with both bat and ball as his 93 runs with the bat and 2 wickets with the ball keep India alive in the 1st Test.-- ICC (@ICC) January 6, 2018
South Africa reach Stumps on Day 2 65/2, with a lead of 142.https://t.co/RCDNKxDK1z#SAvIND#FreedomSeriespic.twitter.com/VsjjOhXQHU
"What is important to note is that this injury was freakish because of how his foot landed and is no way related to his bowling loads or not being match ready.
"Understandable, he was disappointed. But knowing Dale like we know him and you know him, he understands that he is going to try his best to recover as quickly as he can because he wants to be out there.
"You could see how much he was enjoying himself out there."
Steyn's wickets helped South Africa dismiss India for 209 in their reply to the hosts' 286 at Newlands. Kagiso Rabada (3-34) and Vernon Philander (3-33) the pick of the bowlers.
However, Hardik Pandya, who struck 93 in India's innings, dismissed both Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar as South Africa closed on 65-2 - a lead of 142 - to give the tourists at least a sniff of victory.